Fellowship of the Holy Spirit

Our worship together always ends with a Benediction – most often the Aaronic Benediction: “The Lord bless you and keep you.  The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.  The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.”  However, another beloved Benediction used in our worship is the Apostolic Benediction, which says: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion (or fellowship) of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

Our first reading for this morning - Acts 2:42–47 - clearly illustrates what this means. The Greek word being translated here is KOINONIA: fellowship, communion, sharing or having something in common.  Paul uses this same word for participation in the Lord’s Supper … and even for the concrete sharing of money in taking up a collection.  The word “fellowship” in verse 42 could thus mean a range of things.  Quite clearly, however, Luke is picturing the early Church as a group of people sharing God’s blessing in Christ in worship, the teaching of the apostles, love feasts together with the Lord’s Supper, and prayer.  Yet together with all this sharing of spiritual gifts there was the expression of true fellowship also in the sharing of material gifts – which was no less a sign of the presence of the Spirit.

Verses 43–47 provide one of the three key summary statements of ACTS.  Since the Holy Spirit is also Christ’s Spirit, the apostles are given power to work miracles in Christ’s name.  Yet, to an outsider, the thing that really would have characterized these early believers was their sharing of material blessings.  This was the outward sign of the even greater sharing of spiritual blessing which was expressed as they praised God in the Temple.  The love feasts in their homes combined both elements: the sharing of food and of Christ.  Here was a new community, marked by joyful thanksgiving.  And this community was growing!

Prayer: Grant us, Lord, to live each hour in the knowledge that love never ends.  Amen